The Hippo


Sep 23, 2019








Silent film, live music

The local theaters showing silent films accompanied by music from Jeff Rapsis:
• The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center (39 S. Main St. in Plymouth,  536-2552,
• Red River Theatres (11 S. Main St. in Concord, 224-4600,
• Wilton Town Hall Theatre (Main Street in downtown Wilton,, 654-3456)
See for a complete list of upcoming screenings. 

Screening the hits of the 1920's
Area theaters will offer silent films this summer

By Allie Ginwala, Ryan Lessard

A train robbery, a man seeking revenge, a story about a police dog: you'll see these plots play out on the big screen this summer, but not in area cineplexes.

They are the stories behind three of the silent films (The Great K & A Train Robbery, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Sign of the Claw) that will be screening at area theaters. Catch the first one at Wilton Town Hall Theatre and the last two at the Flying Monkey Movie House in Plymouth. All three films are from the 1920s and all three will be accompanied by live music performed by Jeff Rapsis (who also happens to be Hippo's associate publisher), who has become an expert at recreating the audio half of the silent movie experience.  
Back in time at the Flying Monkey
On one Thursday evening each month from May through August, Rapsis will perform at a screening of a silent film.
“He does a great job,” Brooks Bartlett, general manager/head monkey, said in a phone interview. “This is totally Jeff’s love and we’re just a canvas for him.” 
Typically held on the second Thursday of the month, the evening begins and ends with Rapsis talking about the movie and engaging with the audience. When the flick begins, he plays the keyboard along with the film and the audience reactions, Bartlett said. 
Next in the series is the original screen adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo (1922) on Thursday, May 21. See and hear Andre Dumas’s work about a man seeking revenge come to life. Wings (1927), the saga about American flyboys in World War I will be on Thursday, June 11.
Take in a dog double feature on Thursday, July 9, with The Sign of the Claw (1926), about a police dog who helps solve crime and The Night Cry (1926) featuring the iconic Rin Tin Tin. Close out the summer series on Thursday, Aug. 13, with Grandma’s Boy (1922), in which a cowardly young man must conquer his fears.
Admission for each movie costs $10 at the door and begins at 6:30 p.m. Hot dogs, popcorn, candy, beer, wine and other concessions are available. 
Catch a train at Wilton Town Hall Theatre
Each summer at Wilton Town Hall Theatre, Rapsis puts together a list of films based on a theme. Last year’s theme was animals. This year, the theme will be trains.
The series will kick off on June 28 at 4:30 p.m., with a showing of The Arizona Express (1924). An innocent man is accused of murder while his sister must race against time with the evidence to exonerate him. 
Then, on July 12 at 4:30, the series continues with a screening of The Great K & A Train Robbery (1926) featuring undercover intrigue, lots of action and stunts.
On Aug. 3 at 4:30 the Wilton theater will show Red Signals (1927), where the protagonist must set things right after a number of train wrecks are looted.
And finally, on Aug. 30 at 4:30, the series concludes with John Ford’s epic The Iron Horse (1924), which chronicles the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Rapsis will also perform at a pre-train-series screening of the controversial D.W. Griffith movie The Birth of a Nation (1915) on Sunday, May 24, at 4:30 p.m.
Love and History at Red River
Red River Theatres in Concord also has silent films on the schedule this summer. Rapsis is scheduled to accompany a screening of IT (1927), a romantic comedy starring Clara Bow, on Friday, May 15, at 7 p.m. and Orphans of the Storm (1921), a D. W. Griffith-directed story about two sisters (played by Lillian and Dorothy Gish) in the French revolution, on Friday, July 10, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available online. 
Catch a free screening and performance on Tuesday, June 2, at 6 p.m., when Rapsis performs with the film Manslaughter (1922) at the Manchester Public Library (405 Pine St. in Manchester). Admission is free. 
As seen in the May 7, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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